Manga Monday: Sakigake Otokojuku by Miyashita Akira

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review of a rather ridiculous Manga. It’s Sakigake Otokojuku by Miyashita Akira!

Plot Synopsis: The genius principal of the private school, Edajima Heihachi, was a war hero during World War II. He trained his students to play an active role in politics, economics and industries in Japan and all over the world, though the way of training is highly anachronistic. Staged in a private boys’ school that teaches ōendan to troubled teenagers. The students are trained to “revive the Spirit of Japan” and mainly engage in fighting courses.

Plot: The plot of this first chapter is pretty freaking ridiculous and while I’ve been told that the series has a Genre Shift later, the first chapter is almost nothing but gags. I don’t have a problem with Gag Manga in general, but they can get grating after a while so knowing that it doesn’t just stick to gags is good. I’ll probably read the entire series eventually, as it’s been completely translated a while ago.

Characters: Tsurigi Momotaro is our protagonist and he fits right in with the rest of the Manga. He has a quote in this first chapter that I wholly agree with. “There’s no place for logic in Otokojuku.” It is pretty much the entire theme of this first chapter.  Edajima on the other hand is completely over the top in his reactions to criticism. I enjoyed both of them immensely.

Art: The art is pretty standard for the era it was written in, which was 1985 when it first ran. That being said it was pretty awesome with tons of detail and shading, and since it’s a Shueisha publication I expect the art will stay pretty uniformly awesome during the entire series.

Overall: If you enjoy Gags and Martial Arts, you’ll enjoy Otokojuku.

For those who like: Action, Comedy, Drama, Gag Manga, Hilarious Plot and Characters, Excellent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Journey to the West by Zheng Jian He

Hey all, I’m back with another Quick Review for this week’s

Plot Synopsis: The journey to the West was a conspiracy of heaven! After the Sutra (Buddhist sacred texts) went missing for more than a decade, thus Heaven sent its army to search for it. In order not to let the Sutra once again fall into the hands of heaven, the journey to West begin again.

Plot: So this takes the Chinese classic, Journey to the West and turns the whole thing onto it’s head. This first chapter deals with introducing us to the major characters, but it did capture my attention almost immediately. That might be more to do with my fascination with the original Journey to the West though.

Characters: Bai Lang seems to be our main character, and he’s a pretty chill guy. He loves the status quo, although he has a fascination with becoming human. I’m not entirely sure what that is all about, whether this is strictly a character trait of Bai Lang’s or if it is a goal pursued in many pieces of Chinese Literature.  Xiao Yu on the other hand seems to be an interesting young woman. But there seems to be something off about her.

Art: The art is pretty awesome.

Overall: If you like classic Chinese literature you ought to give this a read.

For those who like: Chinese Legends, Action, Adventure, Drama, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Artwork, Interesting Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Karate Apocalypse by Takajou Masahiko

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Karate Apocalypse by Takajou Masahiko!

Plot Synopsis: Kimon Daisuke is a young man doing time in a juvenille detention facility for getting into a fight while on probation to protect a female classmate from being sexually assaulted. He was taught Karate by his brother who is the reigning national champion. This is his story….

Plot: I wasn’t expecting this to be such a serious series, but after reading this first chapter I’m pretty intrigued. The series is only three volumes long however so once I get around to reading the rest of it, it shouldn’t be a super long read.

Characters: Daisuke is a pretty decent dude, if a delinquent. I’m curious to see why he was on probation in the first place, but I’m guessing we’ll learn that in later chapters, probably. Akiyama on the other hand seems to be decent female lead, although a little bland. That’s pretty all of the cast we’ve met thus far.

Art: The art is pretty old school, but considering that the series is from 1986 that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Overall: A decent read, not the best I’ve read, but I’ve read much worse series.

For those who like: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Intriguing Plot, Great Art.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Grand Blue by Inoue Kenji

This week I’m back with another Quick Review for Manga Monday. It’s Grand Blue by Inoue Kenji!

Plot Synopsis: A new life begins for Kitahara Iori as he begins his college career near the ocean in Izu city, full of excitement for his new life. He will be moving into his Uncle’s diving store “Grand Blue.” There he finds the beautiful ocean, beautiful women, and men that love diving and alcohol. Will Iori be able to live his college life dream?

Plot: The plot is really sort of sparse in this first chapter, it starts off pretty similarly to a bunch of other series, but quickly devolves. In fact as soon as Iori encounters most of his uncle’s clientele playing Strip-Baseball-Scissors the chapter goes off the rails. It was amusing at first, but it got old pretty quickly.

Characters: Iori is probably one of my least favorite main  characters I’ve read yet. If only because he quickly succumbs to peer pressure and starts playing Strip-Baseball-Scissors and gets hammered… The rest of the cast isn’t that great either.

Art: The art is great however, and probably the only saving grace this series has. The ridiculous faces are pretty hilarious as well.

Overall: This might be a fun series to read for those who like to read about drunkards, but otherwise it’s a series to avoid.

For those who like: Drunkards, Strip-Baseball-Scissors, Diving, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review for a rather interesting series. It’s Vector Ball by Raiku Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: After a series of bizarre incidents in his school, student Kometaki Okaka decided to investigate the cause of it. What he discovers will turn his world upside down…

Plot: The plot of this series is really out there. It is full of really odd gags, least of all being the belly hair song…. Yeah I really just wrote that. I was actually laughing my head off the entire time I was reading, but after finishing this first chapter I found out that the Mangaka axed the series by his own request after 44 chapters. So while I’m really intrigued by the series I don’t know if I’ll continue reading it.

Characters: The cast is just plain odd. I can’t stress how odd this series is. Kometaki was an interesting lead character, if really strange, but that can be said about every character. My favorite side character was Mouryou (spelling is probably wrong, but oh well).

Art: The art was great, it’s not got the high detail level of a Jump work, but it’s still quite good. And it fits this series perfectly.

Overall: If you don’t mind the series being axed prematurely and enjoy really oddball stories, you’ll love Vector Ball.

For those who like: Bizarre Things, Action, Comedy, Interesting Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, or a series that ends abruptly.

Manga Monday: Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru

Hey all, this week for Manga Monday I have another Quick Review. It’s Golden Kamui by Noda Satoru!

Plot Synopsis: In Hokkaido, the far northern lands of Japan, Sugimoto survived the Russo-Japanese war of the Meiji era. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” during the war, he now seeks the riches promised by the gold rush in hopes of saving the widowed wife of his now deceased comrade from the war.

Plot: The plot is pretty awesome, I was pretty much instantly hooked after this first chapter, hopefully I’ll get to read all of it sooner rather then later. I do want to point out one more thing about the series, it is award winning, so take that how you will.

Characters: Sugimoto is a pretty interesting guy, it’s pretty obvious he’s dealing with serious issues from the war he fought in, despite all that he’s a pretty stable fellow. The rest of the cast we’ve met are pretty much nameless, but they look fairly interesting from this first chapter.

Art: The art is amazing, but once I looked up who the publisher was I wasn’t surprised to find it was Shueisha. That being said it is very graphic, so those with squeamish stomachs should probably not read this.

Overall: This has me hooked, so I’m going to give it the go ahead. Plus it’s an Award Winning series, it can’t be super terrible if it’s received an award.

For those who like: Historical Fiction, Military, Drama, Action, Adventure, Romance, Excellent Plot, Amazing Cast of Characters, Fantastic Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Queen Millenia by Matsumoto Leiji

Hey all, I’m back with my first Manga Monday in a while, and it’s a Quick Review for a really old series. It’s Queen Millenia by Matsumoto Leiji!

Plot Synopsis: The series takes place in the (then) futuristic year 1999. Professor Amamori discovers a 10th planet in the Earth’s solar system, which he names La-Metal, while at his observatory in Tokyo. Its diameter is 9 times that of Earth. Amamori notes the planet has a highly eccentric orbit and, as it emerges behind the distant Pluto, Amamori realizes that La-Metal is on a collision course with Earth. He calculates that the planet will impact Earth on 9 September 1999, at 9 o’clock, 9 minutes and 9 seconds.

Plot: So yea this series was written way back in 1980, and was serialized in an actual newspaper (rather than a magazine). It’s definitely one of the earliest series out there, but it’s related to the authors previous work Captain Harlock.

Characters: Yayoi, our heroine, is an incredibly mysterious girl, who just happens to know things for reasons even she doesn’t know. Hajime, the male lead, on the other hand is a spunky kid who has a huge interest in anything related to space.  The rest of the cast is very eccentric as well, although that might just be me projecting onto them because of the artwork.

Artwork: Speaking of which, the artwork is definitely some of the earliest I’ve seen, and frankly I was a bit appalled at how off the art was until I learned that this originally ran in two different newspapers, instead of a magazine like most series do today. This means that the lack of detail you see in these chapters is totally intentional to save ink. It also leads to some really hilarious art. Characters look like totally deformed monsters sometimes.

Overall: This is worth a read, if you can get over the sometimes awkward looking artwork.

For those who like: Sci-Fi, Seinen Series, Mystery, Early Manga.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.